Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Now's the time to visit blueberry farm

HUDSON — The blueberries are slow to ripen this year because of the cold fronts that blew in this winter. But they're coming. On each green and purple cluster, there is usually at least one big, fat, juicy blueberry. By the end of this week or next, all the bushes at Brenda's Berry Barn should be sweet and ripe.

Brenda Short and her husband, Jerry, started this farm in Hudson four years ago as a retirement plan. They're both now in their late 50s. Jerry still works in maintenance for the county. They've got a big red barn next to their fields, where they can stand in the shade and sell preserves, produce, crafts and buckets for people to pick their own berries.

On any given day, it's a multi-generational affair: Brenda's 87-year-old mother, Margaret Fry, sometimes works the register. She is turning 88 next month and has survived five bypasses and two battles with cancer. She lost her husband, Carl, three years ago. Carl was the nature lover who taught his children and grandchildren the names of trees and plants. A few days before he died, he was out in the blueberry fields, picking weeds.

"I had never tasted a blueberry before we started this," Margaret said Friday in the barn. "Isn't that something?"

And one of Brenda's 14 children is bound to be there, usually with a child of their own in tow. Brenda and Jerry had three children and then adopted 11 more. Brenda, along with her mother, has a deep belief in God. She isn't looking to adopt more children, but if one came to her, she wouldn't say no.

"If God sent me one," Brenda said, her voice trailing off. All of her children are grown and out of the house now, but it doesn't seem lonely, because they visit often.

Margaret's great-grandchildren call her Grandma Great and she grins hearing them say it.

"I have 26 grandchildren and 20-something great-grandchildren," she said. "Can you believe that? And I love every one of them."

The parking lot around the barn is soft, deep sand that pillows around tires, making the first turn into this farm a different world for most of the suburban moms and kids who come here to pick blueberries.

"It's dirty here!" one little boy whined as he got out of the car, walking gingerly on the sand. His sister was behind him, pointing out a chunk of dirt.

"I think that's poo behind you!" she said.

"Ewwww," the boy said. "Poo!"

But as they walked, bucket in hand, into the field, their misgivings melted. For most of the children, the bushes are taller than them, and they can escape into their imaginations.

"Blueberry heaven!" one girl kept shouting. "I've found blueberry heaven!"

"Here is a yummy big one!" another girl yelled. "Look how big it is!"

"Mom?" one girl said.


"I've been eating a lot of blueberries," she said.

Every few minutes, an adult voice will shout children's names and the kids will yell back, sticking their hands up so they can be found. But mostly, though, it's pretty quiet, people moving slowly from bush to bush, picking the berries, focused and feeling the breeze.

Erin Sullivan can be reached at or (813) 909-4609.



Berry Barn

For more information, go to or call (727) 856-2380. The address for the farm is 12954 Hudson Ave., in Hudson. The blueberries are slow to ripen this year because of the cold fronts, but there are still enough to pick your own or buy them already picked and boxed. Brenda said the berries should all ripen within the next week or two. In addition to the berries, there are preserves, crafts, produce and more.

Farm hours (till the end of May or early June):

Mondays through Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Sundays, 1 to 7 p.m.

Now's the time to visit blueberry farm 04/18/08 [Last modified: Sunday, April 20, 2008 12:16pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Buccaneers-Vikings Turning Point, Week 3: Overreaction vs. reality


    "None of us really know how this group of 53 guys is going to come together and how we're going to play this season."

    Vikings receiver Stefon Diggs torched a porous Bucs secondary Sunday with eight catches for 173 yards and two touchdowns. [Getty Images]
  2. Triad Retail Media names Sherry Smith as CEO


    ST. PETERSBURG — Triad Retail Media, a St. Petersburg-based digital ads company, said CEO Roger Berdusco is "leaving the company to pursue new opportunities" and a member of the executive team, Sherry Smith, is taking over.

    Roger Berdusco is stepping down as CEO at Triad Retail Media to pursue other opportunities. [Courtesy of Triad Retail Media]
  3. What to watch this week: Fall TV kicks off with 'Will & Grace,' 'Young Sheldon,' return of 'This Is Us'


    September temperatures are still creeping into the 90s, but fall officially started a few days ago. And with that designation comes the avalanche of new and returning TV shows. The Big Bang Theory fans get a double dose of Sheldon Cooper's nerdisms with the return of the titular series for an eleventh season and …

    Sean Hayes, Debra Messing and Megan Mullally in Will & Grace.
  4. Eight refueling jets from Arkansas, 250 people heading to new home at MacDill


    TAMPA — The number of KC-135 refueling jets at MacDill Air Force Base will grow from 18 to 24 with the return of a squadron that once called Tampa home.

    A KC-135 Stratotanker, a military aerial refueling jet, undergoes maintenance at MacDill Air Force Base. The planes, many flying since the late 1950s, are now being flown more than twice as much as scheduled because of ongoing foreign conflicts. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  5. Bucs couldn't connect on or stop deep passes in loss to Vikings


    If two things were established as storylines entering Sunday's Bucs-Vikings game, it was that Tampa Bay was still struggling to establish the deep passes that were missing from its offense last year, and that …

    Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Stefon Diggs (14) gets into the end zone for a long touchdown reception as Bucs free safety Chris Conte (23) cannot stop him during the second half. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]